Co-design in Health Care

Entrance to the emergency section of a hospital.. Co-design in health care.

An inclusive design approach means listening.

Health care is a service and like any service, you want the best for your customers. Customer feedback is common with most services, but knowing the problems after the event is not very effective. The first step is setting up a process that is going to get the most useful design decisions. That means co-designing from the very beginning – co-designing the research method.

A new paper documents the process of using an inclusive design approach to design the study. As a report of the process the paper necessarily includes many stories from participants. These stories are rich in information not limited by survey or interview formats and questions. It is up to the listener or researcher to guide these experiences into practical solutions. The methods in this study are applicable to any public service, such as transport or education.

Storytelling and research design

Storytelling often goes beyond describing the immediate barriers and difficulties in using a service to reveal the impact on a person’s life.

“The inclusive design approach to the study was not rigid because inclusive design is about diversity, variability and complexity”

Three design exercises

The study reports on three options for design exercises:

Design Exercise Option One: co-designers talk about any part of the health care service that needs re-design. Then the group imagines a future where the barrier no longer exists.

Design Exercise Option Two: co-designers discuss their own or another’s experience during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Design Exercise Option 3: co-designers use the research centre’s “virtuous tornado” exercise. The virtuous tornado is a diagram with three circles, In the centre is the statement, “Like and Use”. The next ring has the statement “Don’t like or have difficulty using”. The outer ring has the statement “Can’t Use”. See the diagram below.

Three rings of a circle indicating the three statements.

Figure 1 from the report with the three options for activities

Co-design is a hot topic at the moment and this paper adds to the research and ideas of how to run co-design processes.

The title of the article is, Co-Design as Applied to Accessibility in Health Care and comes from researchers based in Canada.